Good and Faithful Servant
The prophet Daniel and his friends were forcibly removed from their families and transported to Babylon, where they were compelled to serve a pagan king. They neither attempted to escape nor initiated a rebellion against the oppressive Babylonian regime. Instead, they dedicated themselves to serving the king to the best of their abilities. Even in Babylon, they remain unwavering and steadfast in their faith and resisted the influence of their surroundings.
From a worldly perspective, it may appear as a tragic turn of events for Daniel to be taken to a distant, pagan land. However, God used Daniel to exert a positive influence on the pagan rulers of this formidable nation. At that time, Babylon stood as the most formidable and prosperous empire globally, and yet, through the unwavering faith and character of Daniel, God's influence reached even the corridors of power in this mighty nation.
Daniel 2: 37 Your Majesty, you are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; 38 in your hands he has placed all mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds in the sky. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold.
God touched the king through Daniel’s interpretation of his dreams. King Nebuchadnezzar influenced all people everywhere on earth when he gave his testimony of the power of God.
Daniel 4: King Nebuchadnezzar, To the nations and peoples of every language, who live in all the earth: May you prosper greatly!
2 It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me.
After the death of King Nebuchadnezzar and his son, Darius became king. He too was a pagan king.
Daniel 6: ]It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, 2 with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss.
Daniel found himself cast into the lion's den due to the jealousy of the satraps under his authority, who sought to eliminate him. These individuals refused to serve under Daniel, their superior, and conspired to exploit his unwavering devotion to God as a means to secure a death penalty against him.
Unlike the satraps, Daniel served his superior, King Darius. It's worth noting that King Darius was no angel. In fact, he became king when his men murdered the son of King Nebuchadnezzar. King Darius held Daniel in high regard and recognized the hand of God upon Daniel when he walked out from the lions’ den without a scratch, a clear demonstration of God's intervention in Daniel's favour. Like King Nebuchadnezzar before him, King Darius influenced people everywhere when he acknowledged the God of Daniel.
Daniel 6: 25 Then King Darius wrote to all the nations and peoples of every language in all the earth:
“May you prosper greatly!
26 “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.”
Joseph's story mirrors this theme. He didn't flee from his Egyptian masters or attempt to usurp their authority. Instead, he distinguished himself through outstanding service to his Egyptian master and later to the prison warden. Through Joseph, God orchestrated the salvation of the entire tribe of Israel.
Both Paul and Peter emphasize the importance of serving masters diligently, even when they are working as slaves.
Colossians 3:22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favour, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favouritism.
1 Peter 2:18 Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.
Neither Paul nor Peter encouraged the slaves to rebel and overthrow their slave masters. Instead, they urged the slaves to serve their masters diligently and with the same commitment as if they were serving the Lord. In today's society, this would have prompted an outcry. In due time, the Lord did raise individuals who worked to abolish the unjust system of slavery. The principle is clear: if slaves were encouraged to serve their masters well, it reinforces the notion that we should also serve those in authority over us.
I trust none of you are slaves, though you might feel like one sometimes. It does not matter whether you are serving in an organization of ten, or an organization of a thousand, or whether you are on the board or on the floor. What matters is your faithfulness in serving, and you will see God touching multitudes through you.